"Feedback from service user forum: the 5 things we think the Healthy Living Service could do differently to better support people."

About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Healthy living service

(as a volunteer/advocate),

We met as a group of current and previous service users of the Healthy Living Service on 24th April. We met to share our feedback about the service, to discuss what we feel the service does really well and how we think the service could better support people.

Below are the 5 things we think the Healthy Living Service could do differently to better support people:

1. "I'd like to be able to support others in the same situation"

We feel the Healthy Living Service could do more to put people in touch with each other, enable peer mentoring or just supportive sessions where current service users who are further along the line could offer their advice and example.

2. "I wanted to carry on, but I was discharged and it felt like the support just dropped away"

I was really started to achieve, and then when I was discharged from the service the support just dropped away and I found it very hard to stay motivated. I didn't want to go backwards, I wanted to be able to keep going. I would really like to see better arrangements for continued support, or after care. I understand that the service can only support so many people but I think many people will revert to their old behaviour if the service only supports people in the beginning. It would also be nice for the staff to see the results you achieve later down the line, they have put so much hard work into you, I'm sure they'd like to see you achieve your goals.

3. "I was promised opportunities would be offered to me as I finished, but they weren't"

Along the same lines of the above, I was promised a plan which helped to 'ween' me off the service and into mainstream exercising but that didn't really happen. That left me all of a sudden feeling like I didn't know what I was going to do.

4. "When an inpatient, I felt trapped"

A few members of the group shared that when they were an inpatient at the Becklin Centre, they felt trapped. They were not well enough (other health issues) to take part in the more active exercise, but would have loved to be able to go for a walk with someone, even just on or around the grounds. There didn't seem to be much flexibility about how to stay active, unless you could take part in the planned group activities.

5. "I didn't feel like the staff really got to know me, and what I needed"

Though most people were pleased with the time the staff had spent getting to know them and what they wanted to achieve, one person felt that this wasn't the case for them. They felt that the staff had not really understood what they wanted to achieve and had made assumptions about weight etc, though this was not this person's goal. They felt that this was vital in making someone feel good.

Additional point:

One service user shared that because their family lived at quite a distance, they were not made aware of them having been admitted to the Becklin, and information about the subsequent support from all the different services (including the HLS) were not shared with the family - though the service user would have been happy for this to happen.

Generally, the service user group felt very positively towards the Healthy Living Service (and the staff involved), but would love to see some of the above points taken into account.

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Response from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Hi Amy,

First of all a big thank you to everyone who took the time to get involved in the group. All feedback is very much appreciated by the Healthy Living Service.

I thought it would make sense to address each point in turn:

1) I feel that this is an extremely valid point. We do use people's feedback in our promotional material however I realise that this is not the same as talking to someone in person.

If people are interested in supporting others in a more formal way then we do advise them to contact the Trust's volunteer centre who are able to support them to achieve this aim. Their contact details can be found here: http://www.leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk/service_users/volunteering

2) We do find that a number of our service users would like to continue to access our activities for as long as possible. We also acknowledge that appropriate support with behaviour change can really help people on the road to recovery.

However, as people move forward with their health and lifestyle goals we feel it is important to support them on a journey to feel confident in accessing mainstream opportunities in their local area. We obviously need to continue to work hard on providing the best information possible about local opportunities which provide follow on services similar to our own so people don’t feel that support suddenly disappears.

It is nice for our staff to know when people have achieved their goals and made changes and there are various ways to do this. Some people send a card or letter through the post or ask their care coordinator or worker to contact us. The other way is through the Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) service, who can pass information directly to us.

3) As with the comment above it is concerning that individuals feel that they are promised opportunities and plans that they do not feel get delivered. As previously stated we try to work with partner organisations to ease the transition into accessing mainstream exercise opportunities.

At the moment we are working on potential plans to increase the amount of supported community exercise sessions in partnership with Leeds City Council. These sessions would certainly hope to ‘plug’ a current gap between our service and mainstream services for individuals with a mental health condition.

4) We are very aware from working with people in an inpatient setting that it can be a time of strong emotion and rapid change, and some people reported feeling 'trapped' at the Becklin centre but were still keen to stay active in some way.

The Healthy Living Team do provide a walking group each week from the centre but it is unclear to me whether perhaps other health problems prevented some of the group from attending this.

I would certainly encourage anyone to discuss their feelings with their primary working team on the ward, as I often see members of ward staff accompanying people on walks around the building.

5) Although this comment was broadly positive, I feel sorry to hear that one person felt that a member of our team had not really understood the goals that were relevant to them. At the first appointment with a Healthy Living Advisor, a lifestyle assessment would be completed.

This is a perfect opportunity to discuss what people would like to achieve and how they would like to go about it. We then hope to tailor any intervention to these identified goals. It is not really appropriate to discuss this case further on this forum but I would encourage contact with the PALS service if the person would like to discuss the individual feedback in more detail.

Additional point

It is difficult to reply in specific terms to this point without knowing further details. I would say as health care workers we do have responsibilities around confidentiality, information sharing and consent so again I would encourage the person concerned to contact PALS on 0800 0525790 if they wish to discuss this individual case in more detail.

Finally, just to say thank you once again for such useful and thoughtful feedback. We've found it a very helpful learning experience!

Best wishes,

Sue Davis

Healthy Living Team Clinical Lead

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